What Is Masculinity? 19 Really Manly Traits Women Hope to See in You

You’ve always heard the phrase, “Be a man.” But what is masculinity, and what does it mean to be a man? Keep reading to find out the answers you seek.

what is masculinity

What is masculinity? Have you ever asked yourself what masculinity really means *not what society is pushing, but the real and concrete definition*? Okay, many people understand what masculinity is, however, many of them are confused by what women find to be masculine.

The same thing can be said for femininity, what is it exactly? There’s no actual answer for it because everyone has their own ideas of what is masculinity or femininity.

But we’ll help you with the answers you’re looking for. That’s what this feature is for, right?

[Read: 15 reasons why nice guys finish last all the time]

What does masculinity really mean?

We often think that masculinity means being strong and having no feelings whatsoever. But this is the concept society is pushing that has absolutely nothing to do with the reality of what masculinity really is. In fact, this is what we call toxic masculinity.

Similar to femininity, masculinity shouldn’t be restricted with just one definition. For starters, you’re not masculine just because you’re not affected by feelings. That doesn’t make you more of a man, just a jerk. You’re human, and you’re supposed to have feelings.

The aspect that women want in a man is his ability to feel his emotions and not be intimidated by showing or expressing them. Society also assumes that men love arguments and engaging in fistfights, but that’s an outdated concept.

We’re not living like a pack of wolves in the wild with a bloodthirsty urge to prove who’s the top dog anymore. The world is different, and with that, the needs and definition of masculinity have changed as well.

If you’re seriously asking what is masculinity, it’s about using communication over a fistfight to solve a conflict. What you think is masculine might not be what it really is. After all, who said that in order to be masculine, you should only be stuck in this archaic concept? [Read: 18 qualities of a good man that sets him apart from lesser men]

What is masculinity? The most important traits that make you a man

So, with all these opposing thoughts, it seems like there is no definition of masculinity. But that’s where you’re mistaken. At the end of the day, there is a consistent belief of what masculinity is that runs strong within women. *no, you don’t have to grow a beard!*

1. Self-awareness

This is possibly the most important trait in a man: self-awareness. We all have flaws and bad days, but being aware of your behavior and how it affects others is a huge trait of healthy masculinity.

Assholes don’t give a shit about what they do to other people, but a man is someone who actually considers other people’s feelings.

In other words, he acts like a decent human being. So if you’re wondering what is masculinity, it’s being self-aware of your feelings and behavior. You know that every action you do has a result. Whether good or bad, it’s entirely up to you. [Read: 12 tips to transform yourself from a nice guy to a real man]

2. Proactive

A real man isn’t lying on the couch every day, waiting for his girlfriend to bring him a beer. Instead, he’s up and moving. He wants to do things with his life, he wants to enjoy the moments and get things done. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t sit down and crack open a beer.

But you’re not letting your life waste away while everyone else is doing the work for you. Being masculine means you know the balance between being responsible and having fun.

You know perfectly well that this is your life, and you’re in charge of how you want it to go. Your goals won’t be achieved if you stay a couch potato, after all. [Read: 12 signs you’re being selfish around everyone who cares]

3. He understands that a relationship is a partnership

Many men think that to be a man, you should be in control and dominant in a relationship. Which is wrong. A relationship is about two people in partnership. Both have good and bad qualities. But you support each other and use your strengths to work together.

Having a dominating personality is probably the biggest misconception of masculinity that is so untrue.

So what is masculinity? It’s being a partner rather than controlling them all the time. It’s not about the man bringing home the bacon, it’s a team effort. A real man sees this and uses this partnership to benefit both people.

4. Uses words over fists

We know that many men feel showing true masculinity is about not letting anyone walk all over you. Sometimes, this can be true, because no one likes to feel powerless.

However, some people think the only way to do it is to physically fight it out. And that isn’t right. Not everything can be solved in a fistfight and even if you can, it’s not always the rational thing to do.

There will be times when you’re placed in a position where you’ll have to fight to protect yourself, but if you’re intelligent, you can mostly talk your way out of any scenario without hurting yourself, anyone you love, or even the other person who wants to fight you. That’s a real man.

A masculine man is someone who doesn’t have to resort to violence, but know how to take an alternative route to get himself and his loved ones out of a sticky situation. Remember, violence isn’t always the answer. [Read: What women find attractive: 16 traits girls instantly fall for]

5. Values himself

A man loves himself. Of course, we all should learn to love ourselves, but for now, we’re focusing on men and masculinity. It’s not “feminine” to take care of yourself. It’s not “feminine” to eat healthy, exercise, and do things you love. Where did you get this information from?

When you have the knowledge and confidence, and use it to take care of yourself accordingly, that’s what being a man is. If you’re a real man, you understand the importance of taking care of yourself because, at the end of the day, no one takes care of you.

You’re on your own, so better invest the time and energy in yourself. After all, how will people invest in you if you can’t do the same for yourself?

6. He’s independent

We all depend on people until a certain age. After that, it’s time we develop our own independence and become secure with ourselves. This is what a real man does. If you’re wondering what is masculinity, it means being independent and self-reliant to a large extent.

A man wants to learn how to be self-sufficient and able to provide for himself. But that doesn’t mean he never needs others or depends on others from time to time.

And when the time comes, he knows how to stand on his own two feet without needing others for help. Part of being a man means having independence. [Read: Weak men and strong men – 13 opposing traits that split them apart]

7. He’s there when he says

What is masculinity really? Well, it’s all about how much integrity he has and how dependable he is with his words. And a real man is someone you can rely on. If they tell you that they’re going to call you tonight, they call. If they say they’re going to come over to help you paint your walls, they show up. No matter what. A real man’s word is oak.

So if you’re asking what is masculinity, it’s following through with your words. Match your words with your actions.

Empty promises are told by people who have yet to grow up. If you’re trying to develop “masculinity” it’s easy, just do what you say you’re going to do.

8. He’s focused on what he wants

A boy is someone who’s all over the place. He’s finding himself, fooling around, running from one place to another. That’s not a bad thing because everyone goes through that phase in their lives. However, a man is different. Being a man requires having goals and ambitions and knowing how to get there.

They know what they want in life and know what is a waste of time. A man knows what he wants and understands that he needs to do things to achieve his goals. So it’s not just about living a life or existing, but being focused on his goals. [Read: Defining true masculinity – What does it mean to be a man?]

9. They’re secure with who they are

Being a man isn’t as complex as people think it is. It’s about loving and accepting who you are, flaws and all. If you’re secure with yourself, then that is the definition of being a man. Mainstream masculinity tells you that you need a beard and drive a BMW, but that has nothing to do with it.

Be secure with who you are and your values—that’s the ultimate masculinity.

If you’re wondering what is masculinity, there’s no space for insecurity. Masculinity starts with accepting and being comfortable with who you are. [Read: Here’s how you can be masculine without being a jerk]

10. Knows that being a man doesn’t mean being an asshole

Some guys are a little mixed up in the head. They think women like assholes and there’s no doubt that some do, but many don’t. Women do shit test guys and play games sometimes to find out if you actually like them, but you don’t have to be an asshole to play them back, you just know where your boundaries are and say no when you need to. [Read: Why do girls play games and test guys in the early stages of dating] 

That’s not being an asshole. But for you fellas that think you must be an asshole in order to be a man, well, you’re wrong. Being an asshole doesn’t make you a man, it makes you an asshole. [Read: How to be a man the way he really should be]

11. He knows how to be a leader

While masculinity should never be defined as just a singular concept, if there’s anything men are known for, it’s their assertive leadership skills.

As a man, you should know how to lead a group of people or a team towards the right path and decisions.

Being a leader is different from just controlling a team. The former knows how to inspire and motivate, and the latter is just forcing people towards a particular path.

To be a man is being an inspiring and assertive leader. You want to make a powerful and remarkable impact as a leader through both your actions and words. [Read: The omega male and 15 traits that make him better than the alpha male]

12. He’s capable of making decisions

If you’re wondering, what is masculinity, it’s being capable of making decisions. Similar to the sign above about being a leader, you need to be able to take a stand and not be wishy-washy about it. There’s nothing masculine about a man who clearly doesn’t know what he wants and which direction to take.

If you’re a very indecisive and also impulsive person, you need to work on these personality traits if you’re going to be more masculine. Making decisions is one of the essential traits of being a man. [Read: Why am I so indecisive? 18 reasons why you can’t make up your mind]

13. He’s resilient

The entirety of society assumes there’s absolutely no room for emotions when it comes to being a man, but this is far from true. If you’re wondering, what is masculinity, it’s being resilient and determined. It’s knowing how to stand up again after the toughest of times.

When life knocks you down repeatedly, it’s having the ability to get back up and prove your strength and courage.

It’s your ability to withstand whatever storms come your way is what makes you a man, so embrace it! [Read: Masculinity vs femininity – Which side do you think is stronger?]

14. He’s capable of showing his heart of gold

Ah yes, another aspect about emotions. Since when were men weak for showing emotions, anyway? If you want to be perceived as masculine, don’t be afraid to show your heart. We’re not saying you need to be vulnerable 24/7, but we’re simply saying that you don’t have to be a cold-hearted ass to be more manly.

All you’re going to be seen as is a massive jerk! So you don’t have to shut off your emotions and be mean to be more masculine – it’s quite the opposite. Real men aren’t afraid to show their feelings, as that takes a lot of courage. [Read: Masculine Traits – 21 healthy and unhealthy manly characteristics]

15. He has a strong sense of integrity

Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. When you believe in something, you stand for it.

You’re not swayed by the opinions and approvals of others when it comes to your values, morals, and principles. [Read: 15 rules girls intuitively use when looking for the one]

16. He’s protective

One of the traits of masculinity is protectiveness. When you’re manly, you won’t push someone else in front of you to save yourself if an animal jumps out of the bush. As a man, you’ll instinctively wrap your arm around the people you care about and protect them in an uncertain place.

Of course, this doesn’t mean the feminine isn’t protective. But while the feminine energy in us is protective from a nurturing point of view, the masculine energy is about protecting your loved ones from danger, even if it means putting yourself in harm’s way.

17. He’s reliable

If you’re wondering, what is masculinity, you need to ask yourself if you’re someone who is true to his word. If you make a promise, do you keep it? A masculine person has a strong moral compass, and when they give someone their word, they’d try their best to uphold their promise.

When the people around you think you’re fair and honest, and someone they can believe and trust, that is a strong trait of masculinity. Don’t be fickle or flaky, and when you make a promise, let the people in your life realize that you will never take your words back, unless you really have no choice. [Read: The divine masculine – How to awaken the superior within]

18. Masculinity isn’t obsessed with gender roles

This is a big one. And the easiest giveaway to know if a guy is masculine!

A real man who is masculine will never segregate gender roles or say he can’t do something because it’s not a man’s job. Cooking and cleaning? A masculine man will willingly do that to share his responsibility in the household. Or anything else for that matter, be it changing diapers, shopping for groceries, or taking his daughter to dance class.

A masculine man never segregates roles between the masculine and feminine. The only men who do that are the ones who use the excuse of “masculinity” selfishly to slack on responsibilities and burden others. [Read: Manchild alert – 23 signs you’re behaving like an immature prick]

19. He’s confident with his masculinity

Men can’t wear pink? It’s girly to laugh and smile? A real man will never hold a woman’s handbag when she adjusts her shoes? He can’t watch chick flicks or cry while watching movies? Which “real” man came up with these rules?

So if a guy wears a pink V-neck shirt, do his balls shrink? If he laughs out loud or visits a salon, does his penis size reduce by half an inch every time?! If anything, these are the biggest signs of toxic masculinity.

When a guy defines his idea of masculinity based on toxic stereotypes, it’s a clear sign that he isn’t masculine at all, and his entire idea of masculinity rests upon the simple fragile act of doing something he considers “non-traditional” to men.

On the other hand, a real man who understands what is masculinity is totally comfortable with his masculinity and will never let silly stereotypes define him.

[Read: How to be a man the way he really should be]

So what is masculinity?

Masculinity is a broad concept, and there shouldn’t be just one definition.

But at the end of the day, if you want to be a man, you need to realize that there’s no need to be a jerk or an asshole. Also, you don’t ever need to shut off your emotions just to behave like one.

[Read: The 14 strongest feminine traits and where most women fall in this spectrum]

Still wondering what is masculinity all about? Accept who you are, learn to be a man of principles and integrity, and with that, you can take the first few *but very important* steps in the right direction towards being a masculine man.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.

LovePanky icon
Team LovePanky
The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...